We are bombarded by the cosmetics industry with a plethora of exfoliating products, and society has garnered a mindset that we need to exfoliate often for beautiful skin. The problem: we are exfoliating WAY too much, and with the wrong products. How many times have you seen a facial scrub when browsing the skincare isles? How many times has a Youtuber or beauty blogger mentioned an exfoliating product that they love? This all helps influence people to buy exfoliators that are harming their skin and not helping. Here’s why:
The common methods of exfoliation:
The majority of facial exfoliators are scrubs of varying harshness, or even chemical peels. Let’s take a look at scrubs first. If you look at a sugar crystal under a microscope, you will see jagged edges. These create little tears in the skin and lead to water loss, meaning your skin is less plump and hydrate. Exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve. Yet sugar scrubs are everywhere, even in DIY remedies. Some products even go so far as to use walnut shells, and encourage people into the belief that this is all for “smooth skin” http://www.today.com/health/st-ives-apricot-scrub-lawsuit-here-s-what-know-t106572 Remember, scrubs are meant for the bathtub, not the face. Our face is what people see the most of, and the skin is more delicate there, so, we need to be gentle with our skin, even in exfoliation.
Chemical peels: Chemical peels can be bought on amazon, and applied by any too eager individual who doesn’t know what they are doing and burns their skin. Some people do say that they help improve the skin by speeding up cell turnover. But, should this strong product be used at all, even by professionals? Is it actually healthy to be putting your skin through that kind of abuse? Turns out, chemical peels aren’t just doing more harm than good, they are aging you faster. Master Esthetician Cassandra Lanning explains:
There is no question that exfoliating the epidermis does speed turnover but it is not because it is a healthy event, it is because the skin is rushing to fix the damage, to the detriment of the dermis. when the dermis is forced to fix the damaged epidermis, it must divert nutrients and repair activity that it would have used to maintain itself. This leads us to the possible conclusion that chronic exfoliation speeds aging.
When we look at the research on what chronic exfoliation does, the mild, temporary improvements that result seem meaningless in the face of the long term damage that results:
- the skin has less melanin protection
- it has more damage to repair from the acids being used
- there is loss of moisture from the loss of protective lipids which often leads to oil/oily T-zone
- most importantly, there is a significant increase in the amount of free radical damage to our skin cells and their DNA.
We are better off not second-guessing the skin’s decision to slow down but rather work with it to restore its normal activities. There is no logical reason why adding inflammation could make our skin younger or healthier. Even when we look at research on the body’s ability to repair itself, it almost universally has shown us that it never recovers 100% (and it certainly does not recover 110%) when damaged.
DIY Skincare Do it Yourself skincare is another area where many people are mislead on what is and what is not proper exfoliation. Pinterest is chalk-full of recipes and pictures promising “super-smooth” skin with exfoliation treatments. Problem is, almost all of these methods are very bad ideas that should not be used on your skin at all. Common methods involve using sugar granules, lemon juice,and even baking soda. As I’ve already discussed why sugar granules are so harmful, I’d like to look at the other two most frequent DIY ingredients. Lemon juice is a strong fruit acid that produces a burning sensation and drying affect on the skin-definetly not a good idea. And baking soda? Let’s just say that if a substance is used for cleaning your kitchen, then it should be a no-brainer why it doesn’t belong on your face.
2. The Amount of Exfoliation:
People are encouraged to exfoliate their skin a couple times per week-to even daily. There are a variety of face washes that are labeled “multi-taskers” by including scrubbing ingredients so that you can exfoliate daily. Who ever came up with the idea that this is even necessary? I chalk it up to marketing, rather than actual knowledge from skincare professionals. So how often should you exfoliate, and with what? This is where we bring in plant enzymes. It’s always important to use skincare products that are quality, are as natural as possible, and avoid harsh man-made chemicals. You can safely exfoliate 1-2x per month, allowing the skin to recover in-between but, this is optional. Lanning further describes the proper role of exfoliation:
Over-exfoliation inhibits cell to cell communication, leading to impaired immune function and early aging”. The primary function of exfoliating 1-2x per month is to get rid of the build up of environmental effects, cells that might be stuck, and sebum.
Now, if you have really bad clogged pores and enzymes don’t do the trick, consult a licensed esthetician and have them measure out the appropriate usage for fruit acids-a more potent treatment only to be used under professional guidance.
Proper exfoliation can be part of a healthy, skincare regimen, if it is done properly and only occasionally. The common product mistakes that the general public make are in using exfoliating substances that harm their skin in the long run: DIY recipes, facial scrubs, and chemical exfoliators. The common application mistake most people make is in exfoliating way too frequently-weekly or even daily. We only need to exfoliate our face 1-2 per month. Lastly, it’s important to source a botanical, fruit enzyme exfoliator which contains quality ingredients and will ensure a safe and gentle exfoliation treatment.
The reason for dry skin? A lack of enough fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids in the diet. This can be an even bigger problem for people that have digestion problems, as their body cannot properly breakdown and assimilate these fats. Instead of slathering on another thick layer of lotion on your dry skin, try these following steps to naturally cure this problem for good.
- A Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is not only free of grains, gluten, refined/processed foods and soy, it also contains many quality sources of fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are essential for nourished, hydrated, supple skin. Note: while the Paleo diet suggests omitting dairy, many people in North America do well on grassfed dairy products so there is no need to automatically remove them. Remember, not all milk is alike so, how you may be reacting to commercial dairy could be completely different from grassfed dairy. Grassfed butter is an especially good source of fat-soluble nutrients. Check out this Paleo infographic from paleomagazine.com to help you better visualize the dos and donts of the Paleo diet.
All credit for this infographic goes to the makers at http://paleomagazine.com/paleo-diet-food-list
Source: Paleo Flourish Magazine
2. Supplementing with a quality blend of essential fatty acids. Why do I need to supplement you ask? If I am already eating a Paleo diet, shouldn’t I be getting a proper balance? The answer is yes, sometimes. However, the questions to ask are, are you getting a good balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s? If you are able to eat grassfed meat, and another Paleo fat source daily, then you will probably be getting more Omega-3s. This is very good as our modern civilization already has too much Omega-6s in our diet from over-consumption of grains and seed oils. However, if you eating very little Omega-6s, over time, your body will become unbalanced again with not having enough Omega-6s to the Omega-3s. The body needs essential fatty acids for proper digestion & elimination and several other areas that affect skin health: healthy liver function, absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins and managing the inflammatory process. Therefore, a proper balance of Omega-3s and -6s is primary.
3. Proper Digestion. Your body won’t be able to breakdown the quality fats and use them for your skin if you have digestion problems. Strong stomach acid is needed to break down the fats and nutrients we consume so the body can use them. Unfortunetly, inadequate stomach acid is very common in North America, as well as digestive issues like h.pylori and candida overgrowth. This poses a problem as all the fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids in the world won’t be able to cure your dry skin if you have poor digestion. Proper nutrition supplementation protocols can affectively heal the issues in the intestines and the bacteria imbalance. Next, treat low stomach acid by increasing it with an HCl supplement, Swedish bitters or Apple Cider Vinegar.
Conclusion: The cosmetic industry teaches us that dry skin is a skin type, aka a condition that some people have and others don’t. They constantly come up with new “super” or “ultra” moisturizing creams, body butters, and lotions to “solve” this problem. But, topical treatments don’t actually treat the dry skin, it just brings temporary relief. However, if you give your body the proper balance of fatty acids, and ensure that your digestion is functioning optimally to break down and assimilate those fats, your body will have the tools to cure dry skin itself.
Yay, for green desserts; a perfect idea for either a summer gathering or a certain Irish-inspired holiday (hint, hint). Sometimes, the best inspiration comes from other people. Such is the case when I check out other real food bloggers, they have such great ideas. I have always wanted to try a lime dessert as I am a citrus fan, so, when I found myself with a surplus of limes on hand, I knew that I had to do some experimenting. Imagine my joy when I found this Paleo Key Lime Pie recipe http://www.paleorunningmomma.com/paleo-key-lime-pie/ by paleorunningmomma. Being a lover of custards and pots de creme, I decided to put a theory of mine to the test. Would this recipe work in pots de creme form? With a little tweaking, eureka! Success!! By omitting the crust and subbing heavy whipping cream for the coconut cream, these little lime pots turned into the perfect St. Patrick’s Day-inspired dessert. Michele from Paleo Running Momma has graciously allowed me to share this concoction with you, so onto the recipe!
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp raw honey
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your ramekins in an oven-safe pan-we are going to be using this for a water bath to bake the pots de creme.
- In a large bowl, (or in the bowl of a mixer) whisk or blend together the eggs and yolk with the raw honey.
- Then, whisk in the heavy whipping cream, lime juice and zest, and tapioca and mix well until very smooth.
- Pour the filling into the ramekins. Place your pan into the oven and then pour water into the pan itself, until the water comes quite close to the tops of the ramekins.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until set.
- Remove from oven and cool completely at room temp, then refrigerate for at least 40 minutes before serving.
All credit for the original recipe goes to giverecipe.com
This Chocolate Custard Cake is a happy medium between a fudge brownie and chocolate cake. They are lighter than a brownie, but still rich and tasty. The whole recipe can be made in one 8×8 pan, cut them up into small party bites, or freeze and save for a lunchbox treat. In the meantime, just enjoy the nutritional benefits of real raw cocoa powder and no refined ingredients.
P.S. try frosting them with my Cream Cheese Icing http://priscillajohnsonntc.com/index.php/2016/10/25/tangy-cream-cheese-frosting/
- 4 free-range eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups coconut sugar
- 110g butter (1/2 cup), melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Baking 1 to 1 flour
- 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder (be sure to taste test your batter as you may not need the full extra 2 tbsps)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, lukewarm
- Preheat oven to 320F (160C).
- Grease a 8x8 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Separate egg whites and yolks.
- Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff and put aside.
- Whisk egg yolks, vanilla extract and coconut sugar until creamy.
- Add melted butter and mix for half a minute.
- Add the flour and raw cocoa powder. Mix with a whisk until incorporated well.
- Pour the heavy whipping cream gradually and continue whisking.
- Add in the egg whites, one third at a time and gently stir with a whisk. Don't overmix, just stir until combined.
- Pour this runny batter into the baking pan and bake for 60 minutes.
- The centre of the cake will still be jiggly when removed from oven.
- Let it cool for about half an hour and then remove from the pan. When it reaches room temperature, chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Cut and serve.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze.
- All credit for the original recipe goes to giverecipe.com
While looking for a Gingerbread Men recipe (the holidays aren’t complete without gingerbread!), I discovered this recipe http://www.tipsographic.com/recipe-make-gingerbread-cookies/ from Frontier, Natural Products Co-op and I was so excited to find that it already used honey and little sugar. So, I only had to make a few tweaks to the recipe to make it both gluten-free and completely unrefined. Note: It is essential to use black strap molasses for strong gingerbread flavour, rather than regular molasses.
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup black strap molasses
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 free-range egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Baking 1 to 1 Flour (see notes)
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Cream together butter, sugar, molasses, and honey.
- Beat in egg and pure vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.
- Make sure your surface is well floured, before rolling out your dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Cut out your gingerbread men, or whatever shapes of your choice.
- Place on either non-stick cookie sheets, or ones lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until browned.
- Let cool before decorating.
- You can substitute Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour BUT, you must add the necessary amount of xanthan gum to the flour itself before adding it to the recipe.
Some days you just wanna have your cheesecake and eat it too….but in adorable little serving sizes that are just right for Girls night. The perfect solution? A creamy, rich, yet light mousse served in petite ramekins and full of lemony, cheesecake goodness. This mousse can also be piped into tall dessert glasses or tulip jars.
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup raw honey
- zest of one lemon (be sure to zest the lemon before you juice it)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (this MUST be freshly squeezed lemon juice to give it that vibrant and fresh taste. Store bought lemon juice CANNOT be substituted.)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tbsp of arrowroot flour
- 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp water
- 1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 1/2 cups (355ml) heavy cream
- 12 oz (340g) cream cheese, softened
- 10 oz of the already prepared, extra-sweetened lemon curd (recipe below)
- Additional lemon curd and blueberries for garnish (optional)
- Make the lemon curd.
- Gather all your ingredients.
- Fill a medium pot with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil. We are going to be improvising a double boiler.
- Put the eggs, egg yolks, raw honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt into a large metal bowl.
- Whisk all the ingredients in the bowl together until they are incorporated.
- Set the bowl over the pot of boiling water.
- Whisk fast and briskly. You must whisk the entire time the bowl is over the water. Keep the mixture moving, so the eggs don’t get a chance to scramble.
- After about 5 minutes, it starts to get frothy. (You can use a tea towel to hold onto the side of the bowl with one hand and keep it still. I find that I need this.)
- Keep on whisking. After about 5 more minutes, the mixture turns into a creamy consistency. This is when you are going to add an arrowroot flour paste to thicken it up.
- Put 1/2 tbsp arrowroot flour into a clean, small bowl. Gradually add a little bit of your lemon curd mixture, from your double boiler, to the arrowroot flour and mix until it forms a paste. Now, slowly add the arrowroot flour paste to the lemon curd mixture in your double boiler, whisking the entire time to incorporate.
- Continue to whisk for another couple of minutes until the mixture is thick.
- Transfer lemon curd to a heat-safe bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before putting in refrigerator to chill.
- Pour lemon juice and water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over top, let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Whip until stiff (but not lumpy) peaks form (shake cream from beaters, no need to clean). In a separate large mixing bowl whip cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix measured 10 oz lemon curd into cream cheese mixture.
- Heat rested gelatin mixture in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Whisk for 1 minute to thoroughly dissolve gelatin, then let cool 3 minutes (any longer and it could start to set). While mixing cream cheese mixture with hand mixer, slowly pour in gelatin mixture then blend until thoroughly combined. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture to lighten, then add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold until combined. Spoon or pipe mixture into dessert cups or ramekins. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or up to 1 day ahead if desired) to set. Garnish as desired. Serve cold.
- Recipe source for lemon cheesecake mousse: Cooking Classy http://www.cookingclassy.com/lemon-cheesecake-mousse/
- Original recipe source for lemon curd: Irina at pastrypal.com
One of the challenges that I usually face around the holidays is a lack of gravy. The traditional gravy I grew up with uses a store-bought mix to add additional flavour and thickening properties. However, I had no desire to put a processed powder with preservatives into my food. So imagine my joy when I discovered the secrets of what makes a truly flavourful and Paleo gravy (with a little help from mom).
Before starting this recipe, please make sure that you have all of the herbs and ingredients on hand, as they are essential. You also will need to pre-make a simple stock from the giblets of the turkey, this is a big flavour booster for your gravy. I used this http://www.marthastewart.com/340332/giblet-stock tutorial from Martha Stewart, except I only used the giblets, no other parts of the chicken.
Note: Turkey juices are the juices and droppings that are left at the bottom of the pan after you cook a turkey.
Note: If you do not have mushroom powder, you can add mushrooms that had been sliced and fried to your gravy to give it the mushroom flavour.
- Arrowroot flour
- Mushroom powder (or sliced and fried mushrooms- see note above)
- Combine your turkey juices, with your stock in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
- I would suggest to reserve a bit of the stock and put it off to the side, as while you are making the gravy, you might find that you want to add a little for extra flavour as you’re making your gravy.
- Once the broth mixture has reached an almost boiling temperature, it’s time to start thickening and adding flavour.
- Combine 3 tsp of arrowroot flour in a cup with 1 tsp mushroom powder (if using). Add cool water little by little while stirring to form a paste.
- Drizzle the paste into the broth mixture slowly, while whisking to incorporate.
- Add a dash of savoury, sage, marjoram and rosemary.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Now comes the fun part, continue to taste your broth while adding more of the herbs until it suits your preference. You can also add a little of the reserve turkey broth to add more flavour.
- Lastly, if you wish to thicken your gravy more, simple use another 1 tsp of arrowroot flour made into a paste (see step 4 ) and whisk into broth. You can continue to do this until you have achieved the thickness you desire.
When you have a batch of freshly baked Soft Gluten-free Sugar Cookies http://priscillajohnsonntc.com/index.php/2016/10/24/soft-cut-out-glu…ee-sugar-cookies/ on your hands, you want a little extra something for decorating. Enter cream cheese frosting: fluffy, smooth and not too sweet, it’s a compliment to both non-refined cookies and White Cakes http://priscillajohnsonntc.com/index.php/2016/10/01/gluten-free-white-cake/.
It is very important to powder the coconut sugar in a coffee grinder or blender, before adding it to the icing as regular granular coconut sugar will not give us the smooth texture that we’re looking for in our Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 (8-ounce) brick of full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 coconut sugar (powdered)
- Using a standing mixer, beat the butter on high for 1 minute until it is whipped light.
- Add the cream cheese and whip on high for approx 1 minute until it is fluffy. Be sure to stop and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure that the butter and cream cheese are incorporating fully.
- Add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.
- Add 1/2 cup coconut sugar to a coffee grinder, or blender, and grind until you have a powder.
- Add the powdered coconut sugar to the icing mixture and whip on high until fully incorporated. Taste the icing, and add more powdered coconut sugar to your tastes.
- Apply liberally to whichever un-refined dessert of your choosing
To all the Gluten-free people out there that want to get in on the cookie-cutting, icing and eating during the holiday season, I give you a versatile Soft, Cut-Out Sugar Cookie that’s sure to be a smash hit! They taste great alone, topped with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, or dipped in homemade eggnog, yummmm.
Tip for cutting the cookies: I like to use only a little bit of flour on my dough and then use a layer of wax paper to roll it out. This way, the cut-out cookies are not overly floured.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar
- 1 large free-range egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (really impacts the flavour of the cookies)
- 2 and 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Baking 1 to 1 flour (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth - about 1 minute. Add the coconut sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove your dough from the refrigerator. roll it out, and cut out the cookies, placing them on the prepared cookie sheet. (Tip) I like to use only a little bit of flour on my dough and then use a layer of wax paper to roll it out. This way, the cut-out cookies are not overly floured.
- The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
- Bake for 8-11 minutes, until lightly brown on the bottom. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Decoration tips: My tangy cream cheese frosting pairs well with these cookies, without being overly sweet.
- All credit for the original recipe goes to Sally over at sallysbakingaddition.com
- You can use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose flour in this recipe if you do not have the Baking 1 to 1 Flour. However, you must whisk 1/2 tsp Plus 1/8 tsp xanthan gum into the flour before adding the flour to the recipe. The xanthan gum is necessary for making the cookies stick together.
A couple of months ago, I was presented with a challenge. I wanted a beautiful flaky pie crust like I was used with the wheat flour but, it had to be Gluten-free for the Gluten-free people in my life.
Lo and behold, I had an ingenius idea. Why not try the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking flour in the pie crust recipe on the back of the Tenderflake box? For those who don’t know what Tenderflake is, it’s lard, sold in a box, and the secret ingredient in the best pie crust you have ever had. I suggest using grassfed pure lard though, instead of the Tenderflake lard. The following recipe is theirs, however, I have only used 3/4 tsp of salt.
P.S. For Step 2: when you first start cutting in the lard it will look like this.
You need to make sure that it resembles a course oatmeal (below) before you move onto Step 3.
- 5 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking flour - see Notes
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb of lard
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Cold Water
- Mix together flour and salt.
- Cut in lard with pastry blender or 1 knife until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
- In a 1 cup measure, combine vinegar and egg. Add water to make 1 cup. Gradually stir liquid into pie mixture. Add only enough water to make dough cling together.
- Gather into a ball and divide into 6 portions. If desired, wrap unused portions and refrigerate or freeze.
- Roll out the portion that you are going to use for a pie crust.
- Put pie crust dough into pie pan and trim off any excess. Now would also be a good time to use leftover dough and cut-out shapes to apply as decorations, around the edge of the pie itself.
- This dough is a bit more delicate than regular dough, so handle with care. If you end up using Bob’s Red Mill all purpose flour instead, you absolutely must add the recommended amount of xanthan gum. If you don’t, your pie crust will be quite crumbly.